One thing that many over look is simply getting into the house in the first place. Whilst lifts may well be considered for the internal stairs even one step can prove a massive obstacle, one step such as a front door step. That simple step can prove a nightmare for wheelchair users, all but barring them access to the house. Which is why step lifts came about.
The problem with a front door step is that a vertical lift won't work as there will be a gap between the platform and the door, and there is usually no load bearing wall to fit runners to so that an inclined platform lift can be fitted. This has been got around by an innovative invention – step lifts.
A step lift is a vertical platform lift that lifts the wheelchair and its user directly up in the air so that it is slightly above the height of the top step. A bridging platform is then extended into the front porch/hallway allowing the wheelchair to roll down the bridge into the house, at which point step lifts can be returned to ground height at the press of a button, keeping them out of the way of other door users but easily able to be recalled for leaving the house via the reverse process.
This removes the need for ramps to be put in place, which can prove difficult to manoeuvre on at the best of times, and which many people consider awkward and difficult in general.
This allows wheelchair users independence. They don't have to rely on other people to help them in and out of the house, which tends to happen without stair lifts and which can lead to resentment and/or dependence on individuals, neither of which will help the wheelchair user nor the person they are dependent upon.
It also helps ensure that wheelchair users can have their pick of homes, not limiting themselves to those with easy access. It can also mean that anybody who has recently become wheelchair bound doesn't have to move out of their home just because it has a front door step. They are able to come and go as they please, just as they would have done before they had to use a wheelchair.
It is possible to rent step lifts, which is important for those who have been confined to a wheelchair because of illness or injury but who are likely to recover. It gives them freedom to do as they please whilst they are recovering, but doesn't need to be useless and money wasted afterwards, the rental agreements are easily stopped.
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